The history of Dragon Ball FighterZ

© Bandai Namco
In this series we are looking on the worlds biggest esports. Be ready for a trip down memory lane with Dragon Ball FighterZ.
Written by Joakim HenningsonPublished on
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One of the world’s most famous anime and manga series mashed together with awesome fighting gameplay, intense graphics and diehard fans seems like an ideal platform for a great esports. Dragon Ball FighterZ has set the fighting game genre alight, while also converting many fans of the series into fans of the genre. It’s played as an esport all over the world, in global competitions and tournaments. On a wide variety of platforms: consoles, PC, tablets and mobile devices, Dragon Ball FighterZ is here to stay.
If you don’t know much about the fighting game genre, here’s a quick summary: typically, you are two players (in some cases you can be more) fighting each other on a (usually) fixed playing field. Through close combat, the objective is to fight your opponent until his/her health bar drops to zero. Typically, there are three to five rounds. When the first player achieves victory in three or more rounds, that player is considered the winner. Combos (combination attacks which deals more damage and/or stuns a player) are a big thing and vital to achieve victory on higher-than-amateur level.
The FighterZ of Dragon Ball FighterZ square off
Title screen of the fantastic Dragon Ball FighterZ
Manga art style can sometimes be a little... excessive
Manga art style can sometimes be a little... excessive
In Dragon Ball FighterZ, the fighting game mechanic is a little bit different and you must choose three characters from the Dragon Ball universe to fight with. You can switch between the characters, make one of them assist you in combat, do combinations with them and a few other mechanics to help you succeed. When all of the characters are defeated, the game is over.
The World of Dragon Ball
To truly be able to understand what Dragon Ball Fighter Z is, we need to understand the world behind it. Dragon Ball was initially created by Akira Toriyama in 1984 in the form of a manga, a Japanese graphic novel. The manga follows the story of (to this day actually) the main protagonist Son Goku in his quest of finding the seven Dragon Balls which are scattered all over the world, and constantly improving his martial arts. Throughout the adventures, he meets new friends, and enemies, which are portrayed in the series and the games.
The popularity of the Dragon Ball franchise made it branch out in several different aspects: TV-series, movies, comics, toys, animes, collectible cards, music, games and more. The Dragon Ball franchise is one of the highest grossing media franchises in the entire world. It has influenced countless artists, developers, writers, painters, musicians and filmmakers across the world and has made a significant impact on popular culture - both in the East and West. So, you can imagine the head start Dragon Ball FighterZ got when it was released.
Goku goes saaaiyaaaan
Goku goes saaaiyaaaan
Each player gets three characters in a game
Each player gets three characters in a game
The Dragon Ball games
The first Dragon Ball games were released on the Nintendo Entertainment System, more commonly known as NES, the SNES and Sega’s Mega Drive back in the early 90’s. The games were heavily influenced by either the Fighting game genre, or the RPG’s. Initially much more popular in Asia, the franchise grew slowly but steadily in NA and EU as Dragon Ball became more widespread across the world. The franchise continued to release games together with Sony, Nintendo, Sega and Microsoft during the 00's and 10's. However, the game that made the biggest splash came out in 2018, namely Dragon Ball FighterZ.
The Fighting Game genre gets a new star
At Microsoft’s E3 2017 press conference, Dragon Ball FighterZ was announced to the world. And it got immediate response from fans all over the world. Made in the Unreal Engine 4, developed by Fighting Game genre veterans Arc System Works and published by Bandai Namco, fans knew that the game was going to be a good one. After all, it was highly anticipated and the hype was enormous. No one knew, though, just how good Dragon Ball FighterZ was going to be.
GO1 wins Red Bull Dragon Ball FighterZ World Tour Finals.
GO1 is a well-known personality in the Dragon Ball FighterZ community
Red Bull Dragon FighterZ World Tour 2019
Red Bull and Bandai Namco hosted the World Tour 2019
Dragon Ball FighterZ was released on PC, PS4 and Xbox One in January 2018 and was followed by Nintendo Switch in September 2018. The game got universally great reviews and the fans showed enormous enthusiasm towards the animations that were true to Dragon Ball origins, as well as the amazing fighting mechanics, of course. After the release, Dragon Ball FighterZ became the fastest selling Dragon Ball game ever (with over 2 million copies sold during the first two weeks), and one of the most popular Fighting games in the entire world. Widely thought, it is considered to be one of the best Fighting games of the generation.
Dragon Ball FighterZ ❤️ Esports
When you take a great game, and mix it with a little bit of fan popularity, a pinch of esports and top it off with huge international competitions – you got a recipe for success. Dragon Ball FighterZ immediately became one of the biggest Fighting games in esports, together with Tekken 7, Street Fighter V and Super Smash Bros Melee, and was a given at every global multi Fighting game tournament. Acclaimed influencers and streamers are playing the game on Twitch and Youtube – amassing hundreds of thousands of viewers to this day.
Dragon Ball FighterZ World Tour
Dragon Ball FighterZ World Tour
Dragon Ball FighterZ is a gift that keeps on giving. We don’t see any decline in popularity, no, it’s the opposite in fact. Three years after its release, Dragon Ball FighterZ is as popular as ever. Competitions and tournaments are being held, elite players and personalities emerge and the viewership keeps on growing. In 2018/2019, Bandai Namco created the Dragon Ball FighterZ World Tour – a tournament stretched over 8-9 months with events all over the world, which culminates in a Grand Finals to decide who’s the ultimate fighter, the Grand Champion. Red Bull jumped on the train and co-organized the 2019-2020 season, with major competitions in Japan and Spain, as well as the Grand Finals in France.
With Goku, Vegeta, Android 21 and all the other great characters from the Dragon Ball universe, Bandai Namco and Arc System Works probably knew that Dragon Ball FighterZ was going to be successful. But it succeeded the hype and became an integral part in the Fighting game sphere of esports – drawing new fans and old, from the West and East alike, to the genre and competitive gaming. Making something new of an old concept can be hard, making it genuinely fun and captivating even harder. Dragon Ball FighterZ is a beautiful testament that gaming can bring continents and cultures together - in a mutual love of gaming. And that people, is what it’s all about.
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